Wednesday, April 24, 2013
The German plans for the second day in the attack on Crete
On the second day of the German attack on Crete, the Germans decided that they had to secure control of the airfield at Maleme. General Student decided to drop his last two paratroop companies east of Pirgos. This was on 21 May 1941. The plan also included the glider-borne troops attacking from the west. They needed the supporting air force to destroy the artillery battery on the hill that had been shelling the airfield. A mountain battalion was loaded onto Ju-52 transports in Greece in ready to land on the airfield at Maleme. The mountain troops would start landing at 4pm on 21 May. The landing took losses, in that 20 transports were destroyed while attempting to land. The Germans attacked the airfield at dawn, took the hill, and moved across to the east of the airfield. Immediately after taking the airfield, they took the towns of Maleme and Pirgos. The 22nd New Zealand Battalion had abandoned these positions in the night. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Australian Official History.